Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Melting Swiss glaciers reveal ancient hiking path not seen for over 2,000 years

So present-day warming is NOT unprecedented. Where were the SUVs and coal-fired power stations 2,000 years ago?

Following the hottest summer in Europe on record, a path usually covered by ice and snow has been uncovered for the first time in at least 2,000 years.

The ski resort, Glacier 3000, in the Les Diablerets area of western Switzerland said this year's ice melt was around three times the 10-year average.

"Ten years ago I measured about 15 metres of ice. So more than 15 metres of ice and snow have melted," says Mauro Fischer, a glaciologist at the University of Bern's Institute of Geography.

Bare rock can now be seen between the Scex Rouge and the Zanfleuron glaciers at an altitude of 2,800 metres, and the pass is expected to be completely exposed by the end of this month.

Why is the ice melting so dramatically in the Alps?

Since last winter, which brought relatively little snowfall, the Alps have sweltered through two big early summer heatwaves. Not only did a hot, dry summer melt snow and ice but the lack of rain means there’s very little to replenish it.

"What we saw this year and this summer is just extraordinary and it's really beyond everything we have ever measured so far," Fischer adds, referring to the speed at which the ice has melted.

The Alps' glaciers are now on track for their biggest mass losses in at least 60 years of record-keeping, data shows.


Climate Change is making people angrier online

Hot weather has long been associated with inflamed mood but you can have that without global warming

Hateful comments spike on social media when temperatures rise above 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit), researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research have found.

“It’s an indicator of how well people can adapt to high temperatures,” said Annika Stechemesser, lead author of the study published in The Lancet Planetary Health earlier this month. “If temperatures go too hot or too cold, we found that there’s an increase in online hate speech, no matter the socioeconomic differences, religion or political beliefs.”

Global warming of about 1.1°C on average since pre-industrial times has unleashed all sorts of extreme weather events across the world. This summer, drought and a string of heat waves hit Europe, China and the U.S. For humans, heat is associated with psychiatric hospitalizations, increased rates of suicide and more domestic violence, according to research.

And aggressive behavior online has been linked to violence offline too. Incensed posts have led to more violence toward minorities, including mass shootings, lynchings and ethnic cleansing, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, a New York-based think tank.

Stechemesser and other researchers analyzed a sample of 4 billion tweets between 2014 and 2020 from users based in the U.S. They used artificial intelligence to identify about 75 million hate messages in English, using the United Nations’ definition of online hate, which includes racial discrimination, misogyny and homophobia. They then analyzed how the number of tweets changed when local temperatures increased or decreased.

The researchers found that online hate speech increased as daily maximum temperatures rose above 21°C (70F) — a “feel good” point. Hate messages went up as much as 22% on hot days, compared with the average online hate during times of mild weather.

Across all climate zones and socioeconomic groups in the U.S., online tensions intensified even more significantly when temperatures exceeded 30ºC. Researchers observed that online hate speech increased by as much as 24% — from the feel good point — when temperatures reached 42ºC to 45ºC in U.S. regions with hot and dry climates such as parts of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California. Last year, a study by the same researchers focusing on Europe reached similar conclusions.

“When discussing climate change, it’s a point to remember that we feel the effects everywhere, not just in places with big disasters,” Stechemesser said. “There are places where the social consequences of heat have been not discussed very thoroughly, especially around how we can live together as a society and deal with our well-being in the future.”

Researchers analyzed the tweets as a whole and did not look into specific incidents. That means there’s no way to know if the weather made online tensions worse following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, for instance, or in the lead up to the attack on the U.S. Capitol in January 2021. Still, some conclusions can be reached ahead of the US mid-terms on Nov. 8.

“Our results show that if September is particularly hot, we can expect to see more hate on Twitter,” said Stechemesser. “But the research doesn’t really show what kind of hate it is or on what topics — we don’t know yet whether the hate we observe is tied to political issues.”

The direct relation between heat and online hate has also been documented in China, where researchers analyzed over 400 million tweets from a sample of 43 million users posting on the country’s largest microblog platform — Sina Weibo. They concluded that days with temperatures above 35°C, rain, higher wind speed, overcast skies and air pollution all make people grumpier online.

“Of course people can to an extent decide consciously whether they want to be nice or not, but we still find you’ll have more hateful behavior if you find yourself a certain temperature range,” Stechemesser said. “The first thing to do is limit global warming, that’s the most obvious approach to solving this.”


ESG and Corporate Totalitarianism

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) scores are a Trojan horse for left-wing totalitarianism; yet, the American right was largely caught off guard by its sudden rise. The world's largest private capital firms, government institutions, and NGOs have discovered, seemingly in concert, the need to remake the global economy in the image of this arbitrary left-wing metric, which poses a serious threat to ordered liberty the world over.

Tellingly, the proponents of ESG value quixotic goals such as carbon dioxide emissions reduction above sensible environmental protections and conservation. ESG’s “social” goals are even more nebulous, as social justice itself is entirely subjective. However, the point of ESG is not actually to improve the environment or protect social justice. In reality, the point is to establish control over the many by the few.

What the radical Left could not achieve by force with the typical levers of government power, it is now poised to accomplish with nominally public-private enterprise partnerships. This new strategy has confused the conservative and libertarian response. If such heavy-handedness were attached to the arm of the state, free-market organizations and policymakers would mobilize quickly against it. Coming primarily from the private sector, however, has forestalled an effective response to the ESG agenda.

Unlike government bureaucrats, private sector proponents of ESG are happy to immodestly expose their totalitarian urges in public. Bank of America Chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan explained his plans to enforce ESG with characteristic subtlety, in describing Bank of America's war chest: "200,000 people, a three trillion-dollar balance sheet, 60 billion in expenses; you start aiming that gun, and you take that across all these companies, it is huge." The true lightbearer of the ESG movement may be BlackRock's aptly named CEO, Larry Fink. He summarizes his firm's role in promoting ESG with equal artfulness, noting, " BlackRock we are forcing behaviors."

If a nominee for the president's cabinet exercised such candor, even the ossified U.S. Senate would yawn into action and reject them. But policymakers have struggled to respond to left-wing totalitarianism when it comes from corporate America. They should not hesitate to act, though. These are multinational firms, and they are not products of free and fair competition. Their business model intentionally blurs the lines of distinction between public and private enterprise, making effective regulation a murky, but very necessary, affair.

The old Left versus Right paradigm of government versus business is a complete farce in the age of neoliberal triumphalism. BlackRock lives in the nexus of nationless corporations, governments, and quasi-governmental bodies. BlackRock's leadership enjoys a cozy relationship with the Biden administration, as it did with the now-dormant House of Clinton, possibly even the CIA, and of course the World Economic Forum.

BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street Capital are the top three shareholders in a startlingly large number of the world's largest and most influential companies. They all sing from the same dark hymnal on governance, which is how they have cartelized private global enterprise to promote their left-wing agenda. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the purpose of their hard-won power seems to be the attainment of ever more power.

It could be inferred that BlackRock's role in the cartel is to financially leverage compliance with the "voluntary" standards set by nongovernmental bodies like the World Economic Forum, itself a leader of even more obscure policymaking bodies. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission polices compliance, and spins the revolving door of Fortune 100 executives, nongovernmental technocrats, and public administrators. The boot on the neck of the middle class is the commonality of both government and corporations. At the highest levels, there is no meaningful difference.

BlackRock has been rewarded handsomely for its leadership of the cartel. The U.S. Federal Reserve Bank made an unprecedented arrangement with BlackRock last year, allowing the firm to purchase securities on behalf of the Fed, which in turn invested in BlackRock funds, its first ever purchase of ETFs or corporate bonds. What a lucky break for the world's largest private asset manager.

The Fed itself is perhaps the paragon of government-corporate opacity. Despite its statutory privilege to print dollars and purchase the sovereign debt of the American taxpayer, its ownership is a conglomeration of regional banks owned by unspecified private entities. When former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) humbly proposed that the American public deserved to know how the Fed decides whom to bail out and why, Congress' greatest libertarian was cynically told his questions constituted undue government interference in the free market.

Corporate-government power is now being turned against the credulous Right. Its victims are the very conservatives and libertarians who have developed a neurological inhibitory structure that prevents them from criticizing megacorporations as a class. In their heart of hearts, they believe that private enterprise exists only to make us all rich, and government exists only to destroy private capital. While there are kernels of truth in these sentiments, the unquestioning loyalty of the upper middle class to nationless corporations precludes closer inspection of how "free" this market really is and who actually runs it.

It should not surprise anyone that corporate-government power would now lurch Left. This new leftist elite is only one side of a controlled dialectic in a centuries-long campaign to undermine and destroy the concept of a constitutional republic. Totalitarianism is as useful to the left as it is to the right, despite the insistence of political "scientists" that it is exclusive to the latter.

For example, Benito Mussolini's government could be considered the purest expression of fascism in modern history, largely inspired by his court philosopher Giovanni Gentile. Although Gentile was squarely a man of the Right, he shared many influences with the far Left, including Benedetto Croce, who was foundational to arch neo-Marxist Antonio Gramsci. Neo-Marxism is the indisputable fountainhead of the Left's war on all that is good and pure in the world, even though the mainstream media writes it off as the anti-Semitic fever dream of right-wing terrorists.

Conservatives and libertarians are correct to approach the regulation of private enterprise with caution. It is important to create regulatory tools that cannot be turned against small, independent businesses. The Right should not, however, hesitate to take whatever action is necessary to defeat the ESG plutocracy. It is thoroughly totalitarian and destructive in nature.

Fortunately, there are rays of hope on the horizon that the Right may rise to the occasion. These efforts are politically popular, and they must be greatly expanded if constitutional republicanism is to survive in the world.


Boost in lithium battery manufacturing in Australia

The universal shift toward a clean energy economy has lithium classed as a critical metal and Australia is fast becoming a manufacturing hub for lithium-ion batteries.

Australia is the largest producer of lithium metal, producing approximately 50% of the world’s lithium as hard rock lithium concentrate. In 2021, Western Australian mines produced about half the world’s lithium, at an estimate of 55,000 metric tons.

The last 12 months have seen increased lithium battery manufacturing facilities begin production in Australia. In 2021, Energy Renaissance based in the Hunter Region in NSW, became Australia’s pilot lithium-ion battery production facility.

In 2017, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) produced Australia’s first lithium battery at its purpose-built battery testing facility, The National Battery Testing Centre (NBTC).

Humiscope director John Morgan stated that lithium-ion batteries are highly energy efficient and are being used to power hybrid and electric cars. Humiscope, an Australian-owned company, is experienced in designing and building ultra-dry lithium battery manufacturing and testing rooms.

Over the last year, Humiscope has been contacted by three separate manufacturers from three different states in Australia, each requiring a different size manufacturing facility. In late 2021, NBTC contacted Humiscope to discuss having a second dehumidifier installed as they expand their testing facility.

Morgan explained that due to Australia’s significant weather variations with fluctuating humidity from region to region and at different times throughout the year, environmental control during battery production is essential.

“When designing lithium battery production facilities, it is important to understand that lithium-ion is a highly reactive and flammable alkali mineral, and the batteries consist of several hygroscopic chemical components. These chemical components attract moisture,” Morgan said.

“Due to the chemical sensitivity to moisture, specially designed ultra-low dew point, ultra-low humidity, ultra-dry rooms are required to both test and manufacture lithium batteries.”

Lithium-ion batteries are the most popular battery used today. They are lighter than alkaline batteries and offer high operation voltage and high-power storage, therefore widely used as a power source for portable devices such as mobile phones, laptops, and digital cameras.

There has been an exponential worldwide increase in lithium production since 2017, with analysts from GlobalData stating that lithium demand will more than double by 2024.




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